Happy St. Patrick’s Day: The True Story of St. Patrick’s Day

By March 14, 2013
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St. Patricks’ Day, the holiday that many Americans believe is their personal excuse to get wasted and act “Irish”. How much do you really know about St. Patrick’s Day? Probably a lot less than you think.

Here are a few greeting cards courtesy of all of us here at GeekNation based on myths and stereotypes about the popular holiday on March 17th. Try and learn something will you?

Pinching

Pinching people for not wearing green started out in America in the 1700s because of the idea that those not wearing green were visible to leprechauns. Green Lantern doesn’t look like he is down for your shenanigans.

Drunkenness

It was illegal for bars to remain open on March 17 in Ireland until 1966. Even now, it’s still illegal to sell alcohol there on Good Friday. And there is the whole Lent thing. Sorry Daredevil.

The Color Green

Much like the Hulk, who was originally grey, the original color associated with Ireland (and St. Patrick) wasn’t green but blue; St. Patrick’s blue to be specific. Irish Nationalists began associating with the color green while trying to distance themselves from Britain, and it became the color most associated with the country.

Sainthood

To many people, being a Jedi is a religion, so that probably makes Yoda a Saint. Nope. Not unless he was formerly canonized by a pope, and since the former Pope looked like the Emperor, I doubt that happened. Same goes for the most famous “Saint” in Ireland. He was never officially declared a saint either. More like Aint Patrick. Amirite?

Irishness

There is a long list of famous Irish people. Marty McFly, Philip J. Fry, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Robocop, but St. Patrick has to top the list. Right? Nope again. St. Patrick, or Maewyn Succat as it’s listed on his birth papyrus, was actually a Roman Briton who lived in Scotland until he was captured and sold into slavery to Irish pirates.

Singing

Yes, there are a lot of Irish men and women who can sing and/or are great musicians. Enya, Clannad, Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, Dolores O’Riordan, My Bloody Valentine, Van Morrison, U2. But gauge the reaction of any drunk person when they hear House of Pain‘s “Jump Around” on St. Patrick’s Day. Riot in the streets of Boston.

Religion

The Irish flag shows the long term, ongoing conflict between the religious of Ireland with its three stripes. The green representing the Gaelic tradition of Ireland (Catholics), orange representing the followers of William of Orange in Ireland (Protestants), and white representing the aspiration for peace between them. Essentially, wearing the wrong color is akin to wearing the wrong gang colors. The Boondock Saints took their religious affiliations a little too far too didn’t they?

Snakes

Just like Beyonce‘s public relations team can’t make this image go away, the legend of St. Patrick banishing snakes from Ireland by chasing them into the sea will never die. My question: How did Ireland get the snakes there (across the ocean) in the first place?

Fighting

Not all Irish people like to fight. In fact, just like most of us, if you make a fool of yourself on St. Patrick’s Day, you are a fool to everyone. With that being said, if you are going to get into a fight, try and steer clear of a guy named Mickey O’Neil who has an affinity for dags.

Luck of the Irish

We have all heard tales and myths about the luck of the Irish, but really? Who are you kidding? Kenny McCormick knows it’s b.s. and so do I. The Irish famine, highest rate of depression in Europe, the weather, Notre Dame, Jedward. Seriously?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Party responsibly!

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Father, Husband, Grad School Student, Film Society President, Passive Comic Book Reader, Aggressive Video Game Player, Knowledge Aficionado, Inquirer of Everything. Learn more about me at JGHanks.com and/or add me on Twitter